PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 July, 2009, 12:00am

Long wait to clean up air is unacceptable

I could not agree more with the comments made in the report ('Clean-air ideas abound but hard choices rare, green groups charge', July 15) on the heavy roadside pollution caused by Hong Kong buses. Green Power and Friends of the Earth deserve credit for pointing out the core factor behind the serious air pollution here, buses and trucks.

Unfortunately, the government appears to be far too complacent in the face of bus companies and truck drivers' groups' opposition to replacing polluting fleets. Hong Kong's roadside air pollution has reached a serious level. Any sensitive and responsible government would jump at every chance to improve the situation. But it seems our administration is biased towards profit-driven bus companies, which have reportedly threatened to raise fares.

The government should act swiftly to replace the many pre-Euro and Euro I diesel vehicles on our roads.

Should the bus companies decide to raise fares, let Hong Kong people decide if they want to rely on selfish, greedy transport providers.

Rather than giving subsidies to operators to replace their vehicles, why not subsidise people to take other forms of transportation such as the under-utilised West Rail? Bus route rationalisation should also be a priority, as many routes are apparently serving the same districts, for example, Central and Wan Chai.

It is unreasonable for the government to ask Hong Kong people to wait till 2015 to enjoy good air quality. A responsible and visionary administration would not adopt such an attitude.

W. Yeung, Mid-Levels

Change bad building habits

I refer to your editorial on the plastic bag levy ('A small start to greening we should all embrace', July 7).

You say: 'This is a small, but important, step towards increasing awareness and putting Hong Kong firmly on the road to recycling its waste.' I hope that Hong Kong and the rest of China will act quickly to recycle all their waste.

I make this point because on the same day, you carried a letter from Don Johnston, executive director, of Green Island Cement, on the government's negative attitudes to recycling ('Government snubbing efforts by company to utilise solid waste').

The government is seeking opinions on building design to foster a quality and sustainable environment.

I hope it will take this consultation process seriously, so that in future our architects and engineers will no longer have excuses to say they cannot design and construct sustainable buildings due to a lack of legislation and relevant departmental approval.

The high levels of construction waste in Hong Kong are appalling and the energy efficiency of the city's new buildings is poor.

Our building designers and construction companies must be made to adopt sustainable development.

This can only be done by having good legislation and workable guidelines.

Anyone who claims we do not have the technology to achieve near-zero construction waste only has to look at the building projects that are being undertaken for London's 2012 Olympics.

Nigel Lam, Kowloon Tong

Stop trying to please everyone

Some pedestrians have apparently complained about Hong Kong's designated smoking areas.

This seems to indicate an increasingly draconian approach to public health. I am not a smoker and few of my friends smoke.

The law to ban smoking has tried to appease smokers and the non-smoking members of the community. But the result has been that neither group is happy.

The way the government promoted the ban has led some non-smokers to expect a smoke-free city. Now people converge at public places to light up, locations where there are smokers and non-smokers, such as elevated walkways, outside shopping malls, bus stops, taxi stands and pavements.

Before the law was enacted you would normally see smokers in restaurants, bars and karaokes, where they were not so much of an eyesore.

You might see one or two people puffing on cigarettes at outside locations.

Now you see groups of up to a dozen.

We are not less exposed to second-hand smoke than we were before the ban came into force.

There is ill-feeling between the two groups.

The smokers feel cornered and vilified. The non-smokers are annoyed that people are lighting up outside in areas where there should be fresh air.

When will the government stop trying to please all parties when it launches campaigns to publicise new policies?

Virginia Yue, Tsuen Wan

Why president had to be exiled

The deposed president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was elected by the people but he was not representing the people's will anymore.

Instead he introduced procedures which were a cause of concern to most Hondurans.

He was close to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Together they were planning to establish a communist government in our country.

Mr Chavez's ideas and intentions are so obvious, that it is hard to understand why many countries including the US are against us in this battle against communism. Mr Chavez has openly expressed his hatred of the US.

We have a civil, not a military, authority in Honduras. Our executive, legislative and judicial authorities are working as normal. They are all focused on solving our country's situation and will follow all the diplomatic steps necessary to make the world understand the reality of the situation.

Surely people can see from the news coverage that Hondurans have chosen peace, respect and freedom and that they back their new president.

Melissa Vasquez, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Curb racism in the workplace

Hong Kong is an international city where different cultures come together.

However, racist attitudes often emerge and I think this can be a problem in the workplace.

It can be very disruptive. For an office to run efficiently there must be co-operation with all the members of staff communicating with each other.

If some employees have racist attitudes this can undermine the harmony needed to make a company perform well.

One way to curb the spread of discrimination is through better communication between workers and this is something that employers must encourage.

Kelvin Yin, Sha Tin

Tell parents

There has been a lot of discussion about drug tests in schools and who should be told if a student's test is positive. I think that parents should be the first to know the results.

Parents have to give permission in the first place, so they should not be kept in the dark. They are in the best position to help their child solve their drug problem.

A social worker has commented that pupils might not be willing to talk about their problems if they know their parents will be informed of the positive result.

This ignores the pivotal role the parents can play in helping their children recover from addiction.

Abby Wong, Sha Tin